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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Tiger Woods wins tour championship after 5-year drought

Tiger Woods has capped one of the most remarkable individual comebacks in sporting history with a victory at the Tour Championship, his 80th PGA Tour title.

The 14-time major champion and overnight leader closed with a one-over-par 71 and at 11 under he finished two shots ahead of runner-up Billy Horschel (66).

It is the first victory worldwide for Woods since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone and he is now just two titles shy of Sam Snead’s all-time list record of 82.

Having sat on the sidelines for 10 months last year while recovering from spinal fusion surgery and facing the possibility of never playing golf again, former world No.1 Woods’ ranking plummeted to 1,199 in November.

But on Sunday the 42-year-old tapped in for par at the par-5 18th at East Lake Golf Club to earn a storybook win that will propel Woods eight spots to world No.13.

Woods marched up the 72nd hole with rock concert scenes unfolding behind him as thousands of fans ignored security and police officers to walk the fairway and soak up the occasion.

“I didn’t want to get run over! (by the crowd) I still had some work to do,” an emotional Woods said afterwards.

“I had a 2-shot lead, after pulling up from the bunker in the right sport I can hang in from there.

“Rory was tapping out and then it hit me – I was going to win the tournament, I started tearing up a little bit.

“I can’t believe I pulled this off after what the season has gone through.

“It’s been tough, I have had a not so easy last couple of years and I have worked my way back.

“I couldn’t have done it without the people around me. It was very special to see those people there.”

The victory was nothing like the clinical finishes during Woods in his world- beating prime, but he has maintained a perfect record when holding a 54-hole lead of more than two shots.

He started the day with a three-shot lead and at one stage increased that to five before the wheels seemed to fall off on the back nine.

He bogeyed the 10th but responded with a birdie three holes later but two consecutive bogeys from the 15th had fans nervous.

But when he piped his drive 348 yards down the fairway on the last, it was a coronation despite Woods putting his second in the green-side bunker and missing the ensuing birdie putt.

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